Sewing!? Who knew?

Sewing and I have always had a tenuous relationship. My skills and patience generally made it a frustrating experience. I was successful at basic dress making a few years ago but sadly I have outgrown those patterns and had to give the dresses away.

Then I found this show on youtube: The Great British Sewing Bee. It EXACTLY like Great British Bake Off (my favourite show) but with sewing. I fell in head first. I’m not going to admit how long it took me to watch the first few seasons- it’s an embarrassingly small number of days. BUT! I have learned soooo much! Every episode has little tips and tricks that would take years to learn on your own.

When that was done I started looking up vlogs on sewing (they are so excellent with a morning coffee). Then a friend gave me a huge bag of fabric and I FINALLY had the knowledge to actually use it!

Cue the pattern-less maternity dress! My boobs are basically their own zip code now so nothing pre-made fit. I had to put huge darts in and it kinda works. With a belt its not bad.

Then I realized I had nothing for baby so some reversible burp cloths were whipped up:

Also some teeny bibs:

And finally the thing I am most proud of- a quilt! I have made 2 t-shirt quilts in my life and both were less then stellar. I found these videos that simplified the process. I am finally learning the value of a little research before starting a project. It makes everything smoother and MUCH less frustrating. Anyway here she is in all her scrappy glory:

So that’s what I’ve been doing. What are you learning in quarantine?

Hello from Social Isolation,

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on Pexels.com

Never has a global crisis so pandered to my natural inclinations. Un-like most, I quite enjoy staying home and crafting or reading or writing. When I do go out the spooky emptiness of the stores it is soothing. Even my doctors appointments are by phone- preventing the panicked downtown driving experience.

Too keep things from spiralling into chaos both externally and internally, I am adhering to the same daily schedule I had before. It really helps keep the hours of Netfix-ing to a minimum. Hubby and I have coffee, then when he goes into work, I do some sort of chore (like yesterday I cleaned the oven). After lunch I have craft time, or lately writing time (yay!). During the afternoon I can check the news, but I try to only read a few things. Much more and my anxieties get out of hand. I try to go for a jog around 3pm, sometimes I drag Dexter- but he hates it. I have been making very elaborate dinners to fill the evening. I am not allowed to watch tv until 7pm, but by then I am usually VERY ready to sit down. Lately, we have been watching documentaries and I have learned a lot about ancient Rome and how to commit a murder.

I have so many projects on the go it is hard to focus on just one to work on. My sewing skills have much improved after many hours of dedicated You-Tube-ing. I am currently making a maternity dress from my own pattern! Unfortunately it is in plaid so pattern matching is more of an issue then I had hoped. I’ve also created a book rack, baby bibs, burp clothes and fabric blocks. All are waiting for Amazon orders to arrive before they can be finished- but I promise pictures as soon as they are!

We also popped our cherry and bought our first big baby thing! I invested in 15 cloth diapers that are so friggen cute I can’t get over it! And yes, I am dedicated to trying out cloth! I am tired of everyone telling me it’s too hard/gross/messy. I do not want to contribute all that diaper garbage to the landfill- even if it means more work for me. Our next purchase will be a crib. We are waffling between used and investing into a convertible new one. I like the idea of the bed growing with them. OR being good enough quality to last for more babies??

Speaking of the bean- the ultrasound shows a healthy baby with all the bits! So now we just wait. 19 weeks has never felt so long! Also the little bean is not so little anymore- I am mostly wearing hubby’s sweatpants. They also enjoy kicking during evening TV time. Only I can feel it so far but it is hella weird.

Now if I could only train the cat to not interrupt EVERYTHING that I try to do I might actually finish all my projects before the big day!

I got distracted…

I’m assuming you all forgot that this blog is also about knitting/crafting and not just my random thoughts and experiences.

I know I did.

I’ve been a little distracted with baby crap and actually being able to leave the house and get shit done. Also I’m not going to lie, my knitting project is hella boring.

So anyway here is what I’m working on…

This is a sweet little birth record that I enjoy stitching while watching ‘the great british sewing bee’ on youtube. It’s a surprisingly fun and wholesome show. Plus you learn lots of hot tips. I am also attempting the pattern hoop-less. So far it’s going well! You can buy pattern on Etsy.

This is the sweater from hell. It uses sock yarn and needles. It is knit in one piece from bottom to collar and then sleeves are inserted by picking up along edge of arm hole. And to make it extra fun the two front panels and collar are lace work.

I feel like I have been working on this for all of eternity yet I STILL don’t have the 23″ needed to split the work for arm holes.

Let’s just say the sock weight sweater will NEVER happen again. My mother better wear this thing every damn day.

What are you working on? And any tips to make the sweater go faster?

And so it begins…

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Tis the season for Christmas crafting!

I love this time of year. I can legitimately knit for five hours straight while watching Christmas movies because I am doing something NECESSARY. My hubby is as pleased as I am to give and receive homemade gifts. Therefore my excessive crafting is a SERVICE. I am ensuring that people get the warm and fuzzies on the 25th.

Unfortunately for you fine folks I can’t post anything yet as some of you will be the lucky recipients and I don’t want to spoil anything. I will post all the pictures and pattern links in the new year.

This year (as per custom) everyone will get an ornament and then something especially for them. I’ve also decided to do the big gifts for the ladies in my life (the boys can have a turn next year). I have taken on an enormous project for my mother. Here is the link to pattern. Let’s just say she probably won’t be getting it until her birthday. Needles this tiny do not lend themselves to speed. I’ve had to shelve it for now until the season passes.

I still have many pairs of socks and mittens standing between me and my Christmas Eve rum and coke. But it’s a happy hurdle. Well, more like a long hike- its work technically, but its oh so enjoyable!

A lick of paint

This what my office used to look like. I am 100% certain it was once a baby nursery based on the colour and ridiculously small size.

Now that I am treating writing as my job, going to work for a certain number of words per day, I am spending a lot of time in here.

My office is also my craft room, my ironing area, my violin studio, and my reading nook. It has a lot of balls in the air. It made sense to invest a little time and money to make it beautiful AND functional.

So voila:

This beautiful green with the painted white trim really go with the carpet. This was my biggest worry, I can’t afford new carpet so what ever I chose had to work.

Literally everything was given to me or found at the thrift store. I don’t know why but I love that. It makes it feel like this awesome zen space was meant to come together.

My sewing machine and serger live under the table with these bitchin pillowcase covers. I found a table to use as a writing desk so it converts quickly into a sewing table.

All the painting and cleaning only took a weekend. The piece collecting was obviously a longer process. I would still like a non-hot pink plastic side table.

I am hoping that this little make over will yield dividends and I will start cranking out inspired work. I’ll keep you posted.

Harvest Apron

What is a harvest apron you ask? Literally the greatest thing for a backyard gardener. It converts from a regular flat apron for use while canning or other food processing to a basket for harvesting small amounts of fruit and veg. No more trying to open the door with one pinky while holding your catch of the day.

The process is crazy simple. You need about 2 meters of fabric, or 1 meter of two colours of the SAME TYPE of fabric. Since this is double sided you can get funky with your fabric choices.

Measure the waistband length you will need then cut a waist band about 7 inches wide and desired length. Iron over a seam allowance and then a crease down the middle.

Next measure the apron against your body. It should reach about mid-hip, some will be taken up in the seaming. Also get a friend to mark what length you want. Cut this shape out, one of each fabric or two the same. Using a plate or large bowl round the bottom two corners.

Find center bottom and pin it. Then sew to the pins on both sides. Using and iron to shape it make a button hole with the pinned opening.

Flip right side out and iron flat. Then make a channel around the apron edge, I did one inch. This seam goes all the way around. Feed a ribbon or string through the channel by using a safety pin. Pull ribbon through button hole and secure a clip.

Attach the waistband. I re-enforced where the ribbons come out to secure tightly. Heavily sew a large button in the center of the waistband.

Holy shit you’re done!

Seriously this project only takes about an hour and is so much fun. Post your harvest aprons!

If you would like video instructions this lady does a nice job.

Crochet Inception

I have made this bag:

It is crocheted, from yarn left over from other crochet projects, and is filled with my current crochet project.

I also gave one to my lovely friend who made us both liners so that hooks didn’t slip out. The little slots keep all the important bits at your fingertips.

The final piece is the simple addition of snap barrettes to keep the many colors from unraveling.

The main body of the bag is shell stitch and the top edge and handle are all single crochet for strength. Here are some close-ups if you’d like to copy the design:

Soon I will be posting pictures of the current project- I am so excited for you all to see it!

Bertha

I am attempting to sew more of my own clothes. This is not going well as I have yet to make it to the fabric store successfully. Its very far away and has a no bathroom policy.

Instead I have been cannibalizing old clothes and sheets. Here is a ‘house-dress’ I made from a random fitted sheet I found down stairs. I was so happy with how it turned out- until I tried to put it on. Though the pattern claimed size 18, the bust was not accommodating my girls. So frustrating. No more material to put in a panel. A waste.

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But Pinterest delivered the answer on golden wings: a custom dress form! No more guessing! Shit would fit like a glove.

So, in comes a fellow seamstress, two t-shirts and four rolls of duct tape. Out comes Bertha:

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I must admit that when I first saw her, I almost cried. She seemed enormous to me. Was my body really that big? I was ashamed and tucked her away in my sewing room. I haven’t even tried to use her yet. I don’t want to face the truth- that this is who I am now.

I have gained 60lbs since starting meds. I can’t say it’s all their fault. Yes, the Clozapine makes me hungry ALL THE TIME but since I learned to eat on a schedule I have curtailed the spiralling weight gain and hit a plateau. I’m hoping now that I am getting back into biking some weight will come off.

But until then I need to love the body I’m in. Respect all it does for me. Nourish it properly and move it daily. After all, it’s the only one I’ve got.